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Europace. 2011 Jan;13(1):57-61. doi: 10.1093/europace/euq419. Epub 2010 Nov 17.

Drug-eluting stents for the treatment of pulmonary vein stenosis after atrial fibrillation ablation.

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  • 1Arrhythmia Section, Cardiology Department, Asklepios Klinik St Georg, Hamburg, Germany.



Pulmonary vein (PV) stenosis (PVS) is a complication of radiofrequency PV isolation (PVI). Reported restenosis rates after balloon dilatation and bare-metal stent implantation are high. Drug-eluting stent implantation (DES) has not been reported in the setting of PVS.


Patients suspected of having PVS after PVI based on clinical symptoms and transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) follow-up (FU) were referred for PV DES. One or more branches of the affected PV as documented by angiography were stented (paclitaxel or zotarolimus DES). Follow-up consisted of repeat PV angiography and TEE. Over a period of 2 years, five patients were treated with a total of eight DES. A paclitaxel DES was used in seven of eight implants. Mean FU was 12 ± 14 months during which all patients remained asymptomatic. Transesophageal echocardiography Doppler maximal flow velocity (V(max)) of the affected PVs rose from 58 ± 6 cm/s pre-PVI to 207 ± 20 cm/s pre-DES (+358%, P < 0.0001). After DES, V(max) decreased acutely with 86 ± 15 cm/s (-58%, P < 0.01). During FU, V(max) remained stable in three patients and increased moderately in one. Angiography at 3 months confirmed absence of restenosis in the first three patients and moderate (40%) restenosis in one patient. In one patient, an increase of V(max) back to pre-DES values correlated with a 65% peri-stent stenosis, treated with a redo DES. In total, after seven primary DES only one (asymptomatic) proximal margin restenosis required re-stenting.


Initial experience with DES for PV stenosis suggests an excellent stent patency rate. Transesophageal echocardiography Doppler measurements provide a viable way of monitoring stent patency.

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